Curtis Blaydes saved rolling Saturday, defeating Alexander Volkov within the UFC Fight Night essential occasion by unanimous choice in Las Vegas, however Dana White wasn’t proud of the efficiency. White mentioned Blaydes seemed “stupid” for not having the ability to again up his discuss.
Regardless of fashion factors, Blaydes received his fourth straight struggle, outlanding Volkov 40-Three in whole strikes in Round 1. “Razor” made historical past, too, recording 14 takedowns — a heavyweight single-fight report that topped Cain Velasquez’s mark of 11.
Though White wasn’t thrilled about the primary occasion, the co-main earned the $50,000 fight-of-the-night bonus. That noticed Josh Emmett win a thriller over Shane Burgos in what some are calling a fight-of-the-year candidate, and veteran Jim Miller rapidly submitted rising prospect Roosevelt Roberts.
But earlier than these performances, there was some controversy involving the UFC debut of Max Rohskopf within the night time’s opening bout. Rohskopf entered his struggle with Austin Hubbard 5-Zero, however took a pounding within the second spherical and stop moments later regardless of his coach, Robert Drysdale, making an attempt to speak his fighter out of it.
ESPN’s skilled panel of Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim addresses a few of the night time’s greatest performances, what occurred with Rohskopf and extra.
Who’s subsequent for Curtis Blaydes?
Curtis Blaydes talks about his exhaustion after his victory over Alexander Volkov and provides there’s extra work to be executed if he will struggle for the heavyweight title.
Helwani: Ordinarily this may be a simple one: Blaydes vs. Francis Ngannou subsequent. Simple. They’re each on four-fight profitable streaks now and it is a strong struggle. Problem is, Ngannou is 2-Zero towards Blaydes already. So that is not sensible for Ngannou proper now. As a consequence, I believe Blaydes ought to struggle the winner of the Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik conflict set for Aug. eight. I’ve at all times wished to see Blaydes vs. Lewis, and sure, I do know Blaydes has a win over Oleinik, however in case you recall, that 2017 struggle ended with controversy, so it will be a simple one to run again.
Okamoto: Uncertainty. Sleepless nights. Checking headlines. Blaydes did his job. He went out and beat Volkov in a UFC essential occasion. That’s what he was answerable for. Now issues are out of his management. What occurs within the trilogy title struggle between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier? Which of them retires? Neither? Both? Only DC? And then what? What occurs with Ngannou, whom Blaydes has misplaced to twice? Does Jon Jones transfer up? Blaydes cannot do something about any of those issues, however all of them influence him. I am saying Blaydes deserves to attend for a title shot if he desires, though that is a protracted, lengthy wait. And if each Miocic and Cormier had been to retire, I would be in favor of Blaydes combating Ngannou a 3rd time. But once more, all of that’s up within the air, and it is all out of his management.
All fights from UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov shall be accessible to observe on ESPN+.
• Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov
• Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos
• Raquel Pennington vs. Marion Reneau
• Lyman Good vs. Belal Muhammad
• Jim Miller vs. Roosevelt Roberts
• Clay Guida vs. Bobby Green
• Tecia Torres vs. Brianna Van Buren
• Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Oskar Piechota
• Cortney Casey vs. Gillian Robertson
• Frank Camacho vs. Justin Jaynes
• Roxanne Modafferi vs. Lauren Murphy
• Austin Hubbard vs. Max Rohskopf
Watch the whole card on ESPN+
Raimondi: By any metric, Blaydes ought to be getting a title shot subsequent. He has received 4 straight, has seemed dominant and has just one loss in his previous 11 fights. At heavyweight, that’s extraordinarily powerful to drag off. He has been constant and continues to be solely 29 years previous. But the issue right here is that Blaydes has two profession losses — they usually’re each through end to Ngannou, the highest contender within the UFC heavyweight division. Ngannou completely should get a title shot after the Miocic-Cormier trilogy is sorted out at UFC 252 in August.
Blaydes is sort of in no-man’s land. It does not make sense for him to struggle once more. He has executed sufficient for a title alternative, however Ngannou is firmly forward of him. There’s no manner round it. Blaydes in all probability should compete yet another time, and the opponent that makes essentially the most sense is the winner of the upcoming struggle between Lewis and Oleinik.
Wagenheim: If I am Blaydes, I am not signing a struggle settlement till after Aug. 15. Cormier has dedicated to retiring on the finish of that night time, and Miocic has hinted that he would possibly do the identical. If each guys go away their gloves on the heart of the Octagon, that will create two spots in a heavyweight title struggle, and Blaydes would deserve considered one of them. It could be his third matchup with Ngannou, who has knocked him out twice. But a championship struggle deserves a matchup of the 2 greatest, and that will be them. If Miocic beats Cormier and opts to stay an lively fighter, and the subsequent title shot rightfully goes to Ngannou, Blaydes would possibly as properly look ahead to the winner. He already has defeated the massive man located proper behind him within the ESPN Top 10, Junior dos Santos, so there is not any must show himself but once more.
Who ought to be subsequent for Josh Emmett?
Helwani: Emmett is slowly however absolutely coming into that contender dialog at 145. Unfortunately for him, fellow contenders Chan Sung Jung, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Brian Ortega would possibly get matched up quickly. So, I believe a struggle towards the winner of subsequent month’s Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige essential occasion makes a variety of sense. Now, that’s assuming Emmett’s knee harm is not all that severe. If it’s, that is all moot as a result of he is likely to be out for an prolonged time frame. If not, he undoubtedly deserves to be in that dialog after his third win a row.
Josh Emmett takes Shane Burgos down with a strong left hook early within the third spherical of their bout at UFC Fight Night.
Okamoto: Man, I sort of want the UFC hadn’t simply booked Kattar vs. Ige on July 15 — as a result of Emmett vs. Kattar would certain make a variety of sense proper now. There are loads of matchups for Emmett close to the highest, however the issue is, they could all be booked quickly. Magomedsharipov vs. Rodriguez is a struggle that should occur and has been booked earlier than. Ortega vs. Jung, very same deal. Those are nice fights, and I would not wish to see them get damaged up. So, truthfully, the reply is, I haven’t got a solution proper now. I believe the division must play out a bit. In lower than a month, we’ll know the outcomes of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway and Kattar vs. Ige. I may see Emmett’s subsequent opponent presumably popping out of a type of two fights. Definitely Ige, if Ige had been to beat Kattar.
Raimondi: Featherweight is fairly stacked on the prime proper now, is not it? Volkanovski is defending the title towards former champion Holloway subsequent month at UFC 251. Then there’s Magomedsharipov, Rodriguez, Jung and Ortega. Plus Kattar and Ige, who’re combating one another in July. Emmett belongs proper there in that group. But I’ve a little bit of an outside-the-box matchup for him subsequent, offered Emmett does not have a torn ACL and isn’t out for a lot of months. How about Arnold Allen? He’s 6-Zero within the UFC and has received 9 straight total. He is badly in want of a step up in competitors, and Emmett — who seemed improbable Saturday night time towards Burgos — absolutely is that.
Emmett vs. Allen could be an impressive struggle. With the opposite six guys within the combine, put them collectively in some permutation and whoever is most spectacular can get the subsequent shot on the Volkanovski vs. Holloway winner. What a division 145 kilos is in the meanwhile.
Wagenheim: First off, I wish to acknowledge the superb matchmaking on this co-main occasion, which appears solely honest after I have been so important of many current UFC struggle bookings. Emmett is No. 9 within the ESPN males’s featherweight rankings, and he received the higher of No. 10 Burgos regardless of hurting his knee early on and absorbing a groin shot in Round Three. That’s the sort of resiliency that propels a fighter towards the highest of the division. Problem is, everybody ranked above Emmett is both booked towards one other contender already or at the least has been talked about for a matchup. Emmett ought to be in entrance of his TV on July 15 watching Kattar, No. eight within the ESPN Top 10, tackle Ige. The winner of that one would make a very good subsequent opponent for an Emmett struggle that might produce much more fireworks than Saturday night time’s slugfest with Burgos.
What was your tackle Max Rohskopf not popping out for the third spherical?
Listen in as Max Rohskopf and his coach, Robert Drysdale, debate Rohskopf’s eager to cease the struggle after the second spherical.
Helwani: I really feel very snug saying this: That was a few of the worst — if not the worst — nook work within the historical past of the UFC. Atrocious, reckless job by Rohskopf’s chief cornerman, Robert Drysdale. I counted Rohskopf saying “call it” 9 instances in that minute, and that does not embody the opposite instances he was clearly making an attempt to state he was executed. The most uncomfortable half was watching him having to whisper, “call it” in an try and keep away from the embarrassment that for (some motive) is connected to quitting on the stool. At no level did the cornermen ask Rohskopf what was improper. At no level did they provide any constructive teaching. All they did was ignore his a number of verbal cues and grasp their fighter out to dry.
Before Saturday, I believed the nook work — or lack thereof — within the Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington struggle two years in the past was the worst we might ever seen. If you recall, Pennington wished out of the ladies’s bantamweight title struggle going into the fifth, however her nook ignored her and despatched her out to get completed within the fifth. That was reckless, too, however I assume if somebody wished to they might make the argument that it was a title struggle and value taking the chance. I disagree with that argument, however others made it on the time. This? This was a short-notice prelim struggle. Come on. What are we doing right here, guys? Live to struggle one other day and study to hearken to your fighter. If the cornermen aren’t there to guard the fighter in these susceptible moments, in the end what’s their objective?
Good on Rohskopf for ignoring his nook and going to the inspector to ask out, and good on inspector Charvez Foger for listening to him. Rohskopf ought to by no means have been put in that place, however no matter embarrassment which may come from that — and there ought to be none — it pales compared to the extreme harm he would have taken within the third.
This is a tricky sport and there’s no disgrace in being executed when you’ll be able to’t go any additional. I personally could be in remorse for the remainder of my life however hey I haven’t got to struggle Austin
— Randa Markos (@randamma) June 20, 2020
Okamoto: I believed it was an especially smart move, and I want his coach would have made it for him. Rohskopf requested his coach to name it — principally begged him to — however his coach opted to present a pep discuss as an alternative. Look, there are occasions when a coach wants to present his/her fighter a chat, after which there are occasions when coaches must shut up, hearken to and shield that fighter. I noticed some on Twitter saying, “Hey, this is MMA, anything can happen. A fight can change in a second.” Yes, that is true. But on this case, the fighter himself was saying, definitively, “I can’t turn this around. I’m in trouble. I need out.” This wasn’t a UFC title struggle, it was a curtain-jerker that Rohskopf took on brief discover. He’s 25 years previous. He was outstruck within the second spherical 45-6. He mentioned he was executed, and I imagine him.
Raimondi: It was a extremely distinctive prevalence in MMA, one I want occurred extra. This is an especially harmful sport. If a fighter is aware of she or he is finished and there is not any sense going again on the market, why hassle? What’s the purpose? You’re solely risking additional harm. UFC president Dana White mentioned it himself Friday. It’s very simple for one thing to go improper in MMA after which abruptly a promising profession is derailed or worse. I do not blame Rohskopf in any respect for not eager to proceed. He was coming in on brief discover and is very inexperienced. He wasn’t prepared for this UFC debut and was self-aware sufficient to confess it within the second, defending himself from additional harm. It’s a disgrace his coach, Robert Drysdale, did not see it that manner and tried to proceed to goad him into going again out.
Wagenheim: What a hype practice Rohskopf rode in on for his UFC debut, after having completed all of his earlier fights by submission. The 25-year-old seemed calm throughout introductions, and he put Austin Hubbard in bother on the canvas early. But when Hubbard turned the tables, Rohskopf not solely had no solutions, however he additionally questioned himself. And that didn’t change in the course of the break after Round 2. It’s by no means a very good look, quitting on the stool, however it was an excellent worse search for his coach, Robert Drysdale, to disregard his fighter’s repeated pleas to “call it.” By my rely, Rohskopf spoke these phrases or another type of give up 18 instances over lower than 40 seconds within the nook. It was high-quality for Drysdale to make a few makes an attempt to perk up his fighter, particularly with Rohskopf not showing to be severely broken bodily. But at what level do you simply resolve to hearken to your athlete? Rohskopf is younger. He has time on his aspect, in addition to some important struggle instruments, to rebuild himself from a nightmarish finish to this night time. Drysdale has some studying to do, too.
Lauren Murphy catches Roxanne Modafferi with a proper hand jab that sends her stumbling within the second spherical.
Helwani: I am going to vote in favor of Murphy. She has now received 4 of 5 at 125 and has the second-most wins at flyweight behind champion Valentina Shevchenko and Katlyn Chookagian, who’ve 5 apiece. Also, maybe most significantly, she explicitly referred to as out Calvillo afterward: “I want to fight Cynthia Calvillo next,” she mentioned. “She’s the girl to beat right now. She’s a really, really excellent fighter. She walked right into the division and she took the No. 2 spot, and I think that’s a great matchup for me. I think I can beat her and I want to show everybody that I can.” Sign me up.
Okamoto: Calvillo simply made her flyweight debut final week. There are infinite choices for her subsequent struggle at 125 kilos. So sure, Murphy or Robertson would work — and I would be down for both one — however I believe there are higher choices on the market for Calvillo. She’s already very extremely ranked after beating Jessica Eye in final week’s essential occasion, however she’s additionally new to the division and has mentioned she desires to be lively. There’s no actual motive to hurry her right into a title shot, or have her wait round for one. I like potential matchups towards Montana De La Rosa or Hannah Goldy, however there’s actually no improper reply right here.
With lower than a minute to go, @savage_ufc locked up the choke 😯 #UFCVegasThree pic.twitter.com/TnoGUuUU3a
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 20, 2020
Raimondi: I wrote final week that the winner between Roxanne Modafferi and Lauren Murphy would make a very good subsequent opponent for Calvillo. Murphy seemed very strong in beating Modafferi. She has received three straight, and shifting to Houston the place she trains with the likes of Derrick Lewis beneath coach Bob Perez has clearly clicked for her. Calvillo continues to be behind Joanne Calderwood, who’s about to get the subsequent ladies’s flyweight title shot towards Valentina Shevchenko. Katlyn Chookagian is within the combine, too, although she misplaced to Shevchenko earlier this yr. Calvillo vs. Murphy may find yourself being a title eliminator. As far as Robertson, she seemed nice in beating Cortney Casey, however she was coming off a loss to Maycee Barber, who has misplaced to Modafferi. She nonetheless wants one other win or two to be thought-about in that higher echelon of the ladies’s 125-pound division.
Wagenheim: Count me in for Calvillo vs. Robertson, and the way about we begin the struggle on the canvas? Robertson scored her fourth profession submission on Saturday, giving her essentially the most in UFC ladies’s historical past. She broke a tie with 4 different ladies, Calvillo amongst them. These are two of the strongest grapplers within the flyweight division, and evidently if a challenger goes to get to Valentina Shevchenko, it should occur on the mat. Yes, the champion is a judo black belt with seven profession submissions (two within the UFC). But do you want anybody’s probabilities towards her in a standup struggle?
Whose efficiency outdoors of the primary and co-main occasions was essentially the most spectacular?
Thirty-five fights into his UFC profession, @JimMiller_155 continues to be snatching arms 💪 #UFCVegasThree pic.twitter.com/TFtZiNI4rw
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 21, 2020
Helwani: I am going to go together with Justin Jaynes. As of Wednesday, Jaynes wasn’t even within the UFC. He was signed solely after Matt Frevola was pulled from the cardboard after his cornerman and fellow UFC fighter Billy Quarantillo examined optimistic for COVID-19. So he principally took this struggle on two days’ discover after which received his debut Saturday night time with a 41-second TKO over Frank Camacho. That is supremely spectacular. I additionally preferred that he referred to as out UFC veteran Drakkar Klose afterward as a result of he beat him in a highschool wrestling championship. That’s enjoyable.
Okamoto: Lyman Good. That in all probability sounds wild, contemplating Good misplaced to Belal Muhammad, however Good went into this weekend having overcome COVID-19 earlier this yr and just lately enduring the lack of his father. Muhammad is an especially underrated welterweight. He’s now 7-2 in his previous 9, and people losses got here towards two of one of the best younger contenders within the sport in Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. He is a man who can crack the highest 10, possibly prime 5, of this division, and Good took him to the brink of defeat, regardless of a few of the most troublesome emotional circumstances beneath which one may compete. Good is not the primary athlete who has ever been capable of compete on the highest stage beneath emotional duress, nor will he be the final, however that does not make it any much less spectacular to me.
Raimondi: It is wonderful that Jim Miller continues to rack up wins and finishes. He was on a four-fight dropping streak in 2017 and 2018. Being in his mid-30s on the time, it appeared as if which may have been it for the New Jersey native after a chic, constant profession. If that ended up being the case, it will have been OK. Miller was coping with Lyme illness and it was clear he wasn’t as bodily or powerful as he as soon as was.
This is a time period that will get overused in MMA, however I’ll say it right here: Jim Miller is again. At 36 years previous, he has received 4 of his previous six fights, and all 4 of these victories have come through submission. Roosevelt Roberts is a authentic light-weight prospect, and Miller took him out inside a spherical. Fully recovered from Lyme illness, Miller has his athleticism and motor again. He’s one of many winningest fighters in UFC historical past (tied for third) and there’s no finish in sight to this run. Few have epitomized guts, will and consistency in UFC historical past like Miller.
Wagenheim: Jaynes scoring a 41-second KO in his UFC debut, coming in on three days’ discover, is hard to beat. But I used to be most impressed by fighters taking their opponents out of their recreation. Austin Hubbard opened the night time by keeping off the wrestling of Max Rohskopf. Tecia Torres did the identical towards Brianna Van Buren. I’ve to go together with Jim Miller, although, as a result of he knew he had a bonus on the canvas towards Roosevelt Roberts and he seized it within the opening seconds. Then he didn’t let up till he had effectively submitted Roberts in lower than 2½ minutes. Miller is greatest identified for his longevity — he is tied for many UFC fights — however on this night time the 36-year-old confirmed off why he is nonetheless competing at a excessive stage.